When a Bad Poem

When a bad poem

opens its mouth, nor salt nor

sweet nor jism nor

any scent comes out,

only the absence of be-

ing in the soul

of the poet. Sad.

This is personal perhaps.

We’re not all Villon,

have not the patience

of being.  Mortal fear has

spooked love’s ecstasy.


Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites.

2 thoughts on “When a Bad Poem”

  1. Interested Tom and I find myself wondering what might have sparked this one. There are many, many weak poems I would say, rather than bad ones, although the latter do put in an appearance. This of course is neither!


    1. Thanks John for your ‘patience.’
      Good and evil — do we save these categories for others, ourselves beyond them? Do we ‘say’ something in our poems? This poem attempts to create a scene where bad poetry is connected to badness in the soul. I’m perfectly aware this discourse is rarely entertained, just as ‘religion’ is unspeakable. A protest poem, perhaps. Yet Villon is there, a voice analogous to the one I’m trying to imagine in this poem. There are modern poems that are not bad in this sense. Must compose an anthology of such.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s